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Journal Entry:

Tuesday, December 21, 2010 16:38:59

Falkland Islands 2010: 5 - Santiago Chile & home

Saturday, December 18 to Monday, December 20, 2010

We had hoped to be able to take the kids to the museum this morning, but the brochure said it was open only 2 - 4 on Saturdays. We found out too late it opened because there was a small cruise ship in. Instead we walked to the office of ITT (International Tour and Travel) who put the trip together for us to settle our account - they had also prepaid our hotel in Santiago, Chile.

It was bright and sunny when we set off and cold and rainy on the way back. ITT had arranged a private airport transfer in a new Land Rover for 11:30 AM, as the regular bus went at 10 AM, to save extra waiting at the airport. As it happened the plane was almost 2 hours late arriving. We couldn't get anything to eat at the airport, as they accept only Falklands or Great Britain pounds, and we had spent all ours.

We made a stop at Rio Gallegos, Argentina, where a lot of the Argentine aircraft were based during the Falklands war, and then on to Punta Arenas were we had to clear Chilean customs. They didn't even look at our very expensive visas we paid for in Santiago. We found a sandwich kiosk in the airport that accepted US dollars at an outrageous exchange rate, but at that point any price was OK!

In Santiago there was a brief drama when the customs people confiscated a jar of Falkland's honey I had purchased - there was a bit of a yelling match in Spanish before it went into the garbage! This is certainly not my favourite airport. A taxi got us to the Galaria Hotel, where we have stayed twice before - definitely an improvement over the last one!

In the morning Marilynn took the kids out to change money to shop, ride the subway and visit the zoo. I stayed behind - even after deleting jokes and other non-essential emails there were over 100 that needed to be dealt with. This took me the whole day. When the others got back we went for a swim in the pool and had a few drinks. For dinner we went in search of Patagonia restaurant, as we liked it when we were last here. It had moved to another district nearby with narrow streets, little traffic, street markets, street musicians and classic older buildings. Unfortunately the restaurant was a huge disappointment - much larger, overpriced, poor quality food and bad service - but it was fun to sit at a sidewalk table to listen to the music and watch people.

On our last day we left the hotel for the airport at 10:15 AM. I worked on the computer in the lounge, where everyone left their carry-on luggage while they went off shopping to use up the last of our pesos plus some. The flight was on time and comfortable to Panama, where another frenzy of shopping made our three-hour layover pass more quickly before the last one-hour hop home.


I think the next time we go to the Falklands we would opt for self-catering in Shorty's Motel, attached to Shorty's Diner, where we ate twice. Celina at Bennett's B & B where we stayed was a gracious and helpful hostess, but we would prefer the other option. West's store is a large supermarket where pretty much everything is available.

We asked a number of the people we met on various islands what their favourite place was, and it was unanimous that Carcass Island was number 1, largely because of the comfortable homey atmosphere and the attentiveness and helpfulness of Rob and Lorraine, the owners.

International Tour and Travel did a great job of putting the trip together, and were readily available to sort out any problems that arose. Connections were flawless. Weather delays are apparently infrequent, and the storm we rode out at Carcass was the worst most of the old timers had ever seen - winds in some parts of the island were measured at 98 knots. The difference in the cost of the location where we were, and the location where we should have been, were part of the adjustment with ITT, as was a refund for the room we didn't use on the first two nights at the B & B.

We dealt with Sally at ITT. To contact them go to Tel: +500-23041, Email:

One interesting note - The population of the Falklands is about 2,500. All but about 300 live on "the mainland", being East and West Islands. The UK military stationed there to defend the islands number almost 2,000, almost doubling the population.